Ryon pushed aside the low-hanging branches and raced through the jungle as fast as his legs could carry him. Even though his body teetered on the brink of adulthood, he was still very much a kitten at heart, and he was overflowing with energy on this, the first really warm morning of springtime. The wind whipped through his mane, which had filled out a great deal from the scruffy fuzz he'd had all through the last summer.
He came to the little sandy beach at the bend in the river which was his favorite place to play. There he stood on a big rock and looked down at his reflection in the calm water. He could hardly believe how much he had changed in just one winter! His body had been bony and scrawny for so long; now it was hard and strong, the muscles proudly defined underneath his coat of tawny fur. His sheath, too, had grown thick and full, and looked now much like his father's did. In fact, all over he was looking more and more like the proud lion who had sired him,but inside he was still Ryon, the mischievous kitten. With a laugh he knelt and batted at the reflection with his hand, watching as it dissolved in swirls and eddies and then slowly reformed. Then he stood and stretched, raising his arms up over his head and rising to his toes, grandly tensing all of his strong muscles.
A sound! Ryon froze in mid-stretch, only his ears moving, homing in on the change in the water's splashings. There, through the trees where the river doubled back on itself, he saw one of the little forest creatures that were his prey. It had come to drink. Its back was to him, and he was downwind -- perfect! He had not thought much about eating, but the appearance of prey reminded him of his hunger. And now the wind brought the scent, and his stomach rumbled.
It had only been a day since the young lion had discovered a surprising new feature of his growing body. While resting under a tree he had idly taken to rubbing his fingers along his sheath, and had been startled to find his penis growing big and hard in response, like it often was when he woke up, or when he was chasing prey. The brush of his leathery fingerpads across its warm, smooth surface had filled him with such overpowering sensations that he had never felt before, that he had never dreamed of, and it only took a little more experimentation before his fist had closed firmly around it and started to stroke -- slowly at first, but with increasing zeal. He had been lost in the dreamlike pleasure it brought to him, and oh, how he had nearly jumped out of his skin when his entire body seemed to glow and tingle and his seed had burst forth. Of course, he did not know what it was -- he was terrified that he'd damaged himself somehow, and had lain very still while the sticky fluid quivered in pools on his belly. But after a time his curiosity began to outweigh his concern. There was no pain, after all, and no blood. He poked at the stuff, sniffed it, tasted it. . .it seemed harmless enough. This first experiment had left him rather winded, but he was a strong youngster and recovered quickly. He had tried it again and again that afternoon, finding that each time was just as intense as the last, until even the stamina of his leonine kin was not enough to sustain him and he decided it was time to quit for a while.
Now, though, he felt a stirring in his loins, a restlessness. He stared thoughtfully at his kicking prize, its terrified squealing resounding in his ears, and felt his penis starting to peek curiously from its sheath. The animal's fur was so soft in his hands, much softer than his own palm-pads, he thought. And an idea came to him, and he smiled broadly.
Ryon held the little animal in both hands so that it would not get away, and carried it back to his favorite spot. The creature had stopped its struggling, its four legs dangling limply, its eyes wide and staring shockily. Ryon sat down on the sand with his legs spread apart, and lowering his little captive to his groin, pressed it experimentally to his growing member.
Whoa! He hadn't been prepared for the little animal to come to life so suddenly. It gave an abrupt kick, nearly breaking from his grasp, but Ryon was quick and caught it immediately. The sudden burst of vitality from his prey excited him further, and he pressed its belly to his erection and squeezed it there tightly with his fist. The animal's eyes bulged and it began to wriggle, shrieking, twisting its body. Ryon squeezed it tighter, moaning, and began to drag it slowly up and down the length of his cock.
The feeling was indescribable! Soft, soft fur pressing and massaging at his length, the little legs surrounding his shaft as he tightened his grip further still, the sensation of its thrashing head striking at the tender tip of his glans. Ryon purred loudly, his purr rising to a moan as he stroked the little creature faster and harder. He fidgeted, twitched his hips. His toes curled and uncurled, and the blood roared in his ears. He half- felt a crunch as his hand clenched, but continued stroking, grinding his little catch harder and harder and harder until . . .
It felt like an explosion inside of him, his whole body going rigid all at once, muscles pulsing deep down inside of him. It was dizzying, intoxicating, a torrent of power rushing through him all at once.$nbsp; Then his pent-up breath burst from his lungs and he slumped back, gasping.
His little plaything had not weathered the ordeal well. A big glob of his cream coated its face and was mixed with redness around its mouth. It was still breathing, but when he lifted it from his lap he felt broken bones moving around inside of it and its whole body felt soft. Well, no matter. He'd had his fun, and what fun! He knew that he'd have to try this again the next time he caught something. Obviously this was why he always got hard in the heat of a hunt. Pushing the little animal's broken body into his mouth he bit down, and his purr returned as its hot blood gushed into his mouth and trickled in a little river down his chin. He chewed slowly, reflecting on what he had just experienced as he wiped the red-swirled semen from his belly, and then swallowed and licked his fingers clean. Yes, he would most definitely have to try that again, as soon as. . .
More movement caught his sharp eye.
Through a gap in the trees he saw them as they made their way over the rocky ridge that surrounded his valley and started down for the treeline. But what were they? They walked on two legs, like he did, but they certainly weren't lions.
Ryon dropped to a crouch behind a big tree and peeked around its trunk. He did not know if their eyesight was as good as his, but there was no sense in taking chances. He stared at them, utterly fascinated, until they reached the treeline and disappeared, one after the other. In all his life he'd never seen anything like this! Even from this distance he could see that they had weird, flat faces, and their skin was all baggy and dazzlingly colored. He wondered if that meant they were poisonous. Curiosity burned within him, and when he saw them again, much closer now, he knew that he just had to catch them and find out what they were. He rose up onto his toes, muscles taut, and began to slink through the forest, circling softly to place them upwind. Weaving through the trees on silent feet he stalked them, never letting them out of his sight. Closer and closer he crept, and then suddenly they turned in his direction.
Quickly Ryon stood up and pressed himself behind a tree. Holding his breath, he peeked cautiously around. No, they had not seen him after all; in fact, they were fighting their way through the tangled underbrush toward him. They were amazing, these baggy animals! Crashing clumsily through the vines, their loose, multicolored skins flapping and catching on things -- how did they ever expect to survive? They certainly weren't hunters, that's for sure, and that was confirmed when one of them stopped to eat some berries. So they were prey-animals after all, then. But what kind of prey goes to so much trouble to draw attention to itself?
His fascination grew as they came closer and closer, until they were practically on top of him. Didn't they see him? Didn't they smell him?? How could this be? It was almost as though they wanted to be caught. To Ryon's amazement, one of them actually broke away from the others and walked straight toward him, completely oblivious to his presence. It was irresistible, and he reached out. . ..
"Will you quit your whining?!" Alan snapped. He'd finally had it up to here with the skinny nerd's voice.
"Well, sor-ry!" Gregory said peevishly. "I just don't understand why we couldn't have driven the Land Rover up to the top. We paid for 4-wheel drive, didn't we? So why'd we have to hike all the way up the mountain?"
"Because it was there."
"Oh, thanks. You're funny, Alan."
Gary, at the head of the group, sighed and halted. He hated having to be the peacemaker all the time. "Look guys, if you'd do less talking, you wouldn't be so tired. We can stop and break for lunch now if you want to."
Gregory muttered, "I might as well just turn around and go back to camp. I'm just slowing you guys down anyway."
Gary made calming gestures at the seething Alan and sent him ahead, then waited for Gregory to catch up. "Come on! You're a part of a historical expedition, remember?" he said cheerily. "You heard what the old guy said. We're probably the first Westerners to ever cross those mountains -- blazing a trail into unexplored territory! We might make an amazing discovery here and be famous."
"What, discover the world's biggest mosquito?"
Gary sighed. "OK. We'll head back a bit earlier so you can catch up on your rest. It's only a quick sweep through anyway, just to get the lay of the land. Tomorrow we'll stick close to camp. You can help me gather some foliage samples, and if I discover anything earth-shattering I'll name it after you."
He gave Gregory an encouraging clap on the shoulder and hurried ahead to join Alan, who was still grumbling "Why did we have to bring him, anyway?"
"Because," Gary whispered in a tone of forced patience, "he's the only one who speaks the language. And the Land Rover's on his credit card."
Alan snorted. "If your adviser doesn't hand you your degree on a silver platter after this, I swear I'll sue you."
Behind them, Gregory paused to wipe his face on his flowered Hawaiian shirt. He'd heard what Alan had said, and it hurt his feelings. Why had he come, anyway? He should have said no the moment Gary told him that Alan was coming along, and he should never have volunteered to drive the Land Rover. From the city, the mountains had looked to be a few miles off, maybe four or five, but it had been more than two hours of bouncing over coarse savannah before they reached the foothills. And they sure as hell could have driven further up the ridge, if only Alan had let them. Maybe then he wouldnt' have had to pitch his tent in the dark. Now his whole body ached and his feet had blisters, and he was seriously thinking of just turning around and heading back on his own.
Then something caught his eye. For a moment, just a brief flash, it was as though a part of the jungle had moved. He squinted, peering at that spot, but there was nothing. Nothing he could see now, at least. A shiver shot through him, and he forgot any notions of going back alone. "Hey. . ." he called. "Wait up!"
His companions had stopped to examine one of the towering trees. "Fucking huge, man," Alan said with a whistle. "They keep getting bigger the further we go."
"Yes. Old growth. Nobody's ever cut them down." Gary seemed almost in a trance, plunged into a budding botanist's dreamworld. "They're probably centuries old. God, I can't wait to start taking samples tomorrow." He straightened up as Gregory joined them. "It looks like easier going in that direction." He started off, leading his companions through the twisted undergrowth and into a small natural clearing. He continued on, but Alan shrugged off his backpack.
"Screw this. It's lunchtime. This is as good a spot as any." He zipped open the pack and dumped the contents onto a rocky outcropping. "The pops might still be cold, but I make no guarantees." He looked around, realizing that Gregory was here but Gary wasn't. He called in the direction Gary had been traveling. "Hey, Einstein, are you going to eat or not?"
Gary didn't seem interested in lunch. He strode purposefully toward the edge of the clearing. "Look at that!" he said excitedly. "I've never seen a tree like that before! Look at the bark."
Alan laughed. "Science-types," he sneered, and turned back to his meal. As he did, he saw a looming shadow from the corner of his eye, and when he spun around, he saw Alan's flailing body rising up, up, high into the air. Gregory followed Alan's gaze, looked up as well, and screamed.
Something emerged from the shade of the trees, its vast bulk dwarfing the terrified little man that it held in its grip. Gregory's scream trailed off, leaving him dumbstruck as he stared at the towering figure. It was something from a nightmare: a lion's head, a man's body, covered with fur; its size was staggering! A lone conifer, which must have stood a hundred feet tall or more, was near the edge of the clearing, and this Thing was looking over the top of it. . ..at him! And in its hand was Gary, whose high, thin shrieks now reached Gregory's ears. He felt warmth trickling down his leg.
Alan suddenly appeared beside him. "Gary? GARY! Oh, shit! Run, you stupid asshole, run!"
Quivering, Gregory turned slowly to watch Alan disappear into the woods. He could not make himself turn back around to look at the giant. It seemed an eternity before he was able to make his own legs work, and slowly at first, then with gathering speed, he lurched into the trees.
Ryon smiled to himself as he stood up again, lifting the wiggly little animal close to his face and sniffing at it. He stepped forward into the sunlight, and the other two members of the pack darted off into the underbrush. Well, at least they weren't totally stupid! He would hunt them down later; for now, though, he was too eager to examine the one that he had caught.
He sat down and folded his legs comfortably, and peered down at his catch. It seemed he was holding it a little too tightly, so he dropped it into the palm of his hand, but kept careful watch in case it tried to scramble over the edge. Right now it wasn't doing much of anything. That disappointed him somewhat. He liked his prey to put up at least a little bit of a fight. With a curious finger he started to explore the tiny body. He picked at its baggy skin, and mewed in surprised when it tore easily. But . . . it was not skin after all, was it? Intrigued, he hooked his claw into it in another place and began to shred it from the little animal's body. It was definitly not skin, though he hadn't the slightest idea just what it was. Maybe it was a coccoon? It was springtime, after all. And this here -- mew! Blood! OK, that's its skin. Carefully he pulled the rest of the coccoon away and discarded it, then he eyed the creature closely. Where was its fur? No wonder it kept its coccoon around it that way.
It began to yap at him, its little squeaky cries amusing him. So in that sense, at least, it was no different from the other prey animals around here -- just dumber. Smelled differently, but still pretty much the same.
No. It did not feel the same. It's smooth skin was different, a very different, interesting feeling.
He smiled, beginning to purr.
The little animal squealed as Ryon lowered it down and pressed it up into his scrotum; it came alive again and started to kick and thrash as the soft folds enshrouded it. That was good! Nice and squirmy. Ryon's purr grew louder, and he leaned back. Slowly he began to move the little one across the tingling surface of his ballsac, its struggles thrilling him, and then he pushed it up between the two hanging globes and squeezed them around its body with his fingers. The sheer bliss of feeling its little arms thumping and petting his testicles made him start to pant, and his penis leaped from his sheath quicker than it ever had before.
Tail lashing excitedly, he settled down onto his back and dragged his captive up along his sheath and onto the bare flesh of his shaft. He was eager to find out if this animal's skin felt as good against him as the furry one's had, but he was disappointed to discover that it did not slide very easily at all. He mewled and lifted the creature from his crotch, closed his fist around it so that it wouldn't get away, and thought. It needs to be more slippery, he said to himself, if I'm going to get any fun out of it. Maybe I could cover it with some mud from the swamp. That's slippery. But then I wouldn't be able to eat it. Who wants to eat swamp-mud? Yuck! Hmmm. Maybe if it was just wet. . .
That sounded like it would work, so he lifted his hand to his face and, keeping his fingers curled, he slipped his tongue into his fist and licked the little one into his mouth. The feel of its smooth skin against his tongue was oddly pleasant, so he spent some extra time just sucking on his captive and exploring the unique texture of its wiggly body. Then, when he'd built up lots of saliva in his mouth, he brought his hand up again and spat the creature into his palm. It landed and squeaked comically, writhing in the puddle of bubbly liquid. Now to give it another try.
Oh, yes! This was more like it! The little animal slid crazily between his penis and palm as he began to stroke himself. Just by its very shape, its body tended to line itself up along his member, and its wild gyrations against his cock were like nothing he'd ever felt before, ever! It was so much more intense a feeling than rubbing with just his plain old hand. He wondered how he could ever be satisfied with just that, now that he'd found these remarkable little creatures. He sure hoped that he would be able to find the others after he was finished with this one. No worry there, though. He'd seen how shockingly inept they were at avoiding detection, and besides, he was a good hunter.
His spit had started to dry out and the little one was beginning to drag uncomfortably against his flesh again. He didn't like the idea of having to stop to rewet it every -- oh, but what's this? He paused in his stroking, surprised to notice thin liquid dripping from the tip of his penis onto his thumb. Surely he couldn't be finished already! He hadn't felt any of those joyful spasms that he'd felt when the white stuff came out the first few times. Rubbing at the liquid, though, he soon realized that it wasn't the same as the white stuff. This was much thinner, more like tree sap, and . . . slippery.
Slippery!! Oh, mew! This was perfect! Excitedly he gripped his little prey-toy and mushed its body roughly against his oozing cockslit, gasping at the sudden wave of pleasure that rocketed through his loins. The little one was almost instantly soaked in his slickness -- too much so, as it suddenly slipped from his fingers and squirmed down between his legs. With an angry growl he snatched it up again, using his claws to help hold onto it this time, and squeezed its belly against the bottom of his shaft, right at the spot where the head flared. His fist closed tightly around it and he began pumping. He almost couldn't believe it! The struggling little body felt even better against him now than it had just a few seconds before! What a marvelous thing, that his body knew just exactly what he needed and provided it! All these discoveries in the course of just one day were enough to make his head swim; but, like his belly, a kitten's curiosity is insatiable, and he was determined to see just how much fun he could have before this lovely spring day was through.He felt his heart beating faster, and knew that the wonderful white flood would come out of him soon. The little animal had stopped its bleating, but it still struggled deliciously, its tiny hands sliding all over the big head of his penis, driving Ryon almost into a frenzy. He tried so hard not to squeeze, but it was impossible. Nothing seemed to matter, as he felt his whole body tighten up. The world started spinning; he hardly heard his own echoing roar as the white stuff exploded out of his penis, flying up and landing in his chestfur and sticking there. Then he couldn't move at all -- couldn't even breathe -- could only sit helplessly as his loins pulsed and pulsed. The thick cream shot out again and again and again, and he could almost hear the spasming of the muscles deep in his belly. At last the storm subsided and he swayed dizzily, reaching out a hand to clutch at a treetrunk for support. It took a moment or two for him to catch his breath.
Ryon suddenly remembered his little plaything and looked down. It was still clasped to his cock, its upper body slumped, twitching over his glans. Carefully he peeled it off with two fingers and sniffed at it. Awww, it was broken! Though it was still breathing and feebly moving its arms, on both of its legs the bones were sticking out through the skin. Obviously, he wouldn't be having much more fun with this one.
No matter! There were two more, and maybe he could find even more than that if he looked hard enough. Climbing to his feet, he slipped the little animal into his mouth and swallowed it whole, and then started off to hunt for the others.
Dropping to all fours, he lowered his head and sniffed at the ground. Such a unique scent wasn't hard to find at all. They had gone in two different directions, the one with the drab coccoon off to the left, the prettier one to the right. Well, at least they had some survival sense after all, he thought. He decided to go after the less colorful one, since it seemed meatier and would probably be more fun to catch.
The hunt did not last long. Ryon padded slowly through the woods, his eyes following the trail of broken creepers and bruised vines that his quarry had left behind, his nostrils flared to catch in the smallest trace of scent. The trail came to an abrupt end at the bottom of a big tree, where it ran right up to a hole in the bark. He'd found its nest! Quickly he circled the area, searching through the tangled undergrowth for any back entrances to the burrow that he could plug, but he couldn't find any and returned to the main entrance. There he leaned down and sniffed deeply. The little creature was definitely in there. The smell of its fear was potent. He poked a finger curiously into the opening, and heard his prey scrabbling in deeper.
Now he was in a quandry. He tried to flush the little animal out with his tail by thrusting it down into the hole; but even though he could feel the little one brushing against the tuft at the tip, it did not try to make a break for freedom. He considered urinating into the burrow and flooding it out, but he didn't feel like having to walk all the way back to the river to wash it off. The tree was too big to push over, and he hated digging, because the dirt got up into his claw-sheaths and felt funny.
Ryon squatted down to ponder this some more, and as he did, something darted from the burrow and dashed between his feet. He hissed in surprise, off balance, and fell back hard onto his rump. That's when he felt the frantic wriggling beneath him, and started to laugh. He'd caught it anyway, all by accident! He looked down and saw tiny legs kicking from beneath his scrotum. The little creature had tried to flee between his feet, and he had sat on it. What luck, he thought, that it fell between them -- just a little to the left or the right, and I would have squashed it under my butt.
He started to reach down to pull it out from under him, but after a thoughtful moment he changed his mind. He sort of enjoyed the feeling of it struggling against his tailhole; it was a totally new sensation, and sent shivers up his spine. Yet another use for the little ones! Purring, he settled down heavier upon it, feeling its struggles intensify against the smooth flesh under his tail, and marvelled yet again at his incredible fortune to have discovered these creatures. So easy to catch, so much fun, and they didn't even bite.
The little prey-toy's squirming grew more feeble, and he realized that he was probably smothering it. Still, he was reluctant to give up this new game, so delicious was the sensation, so he sat on it for a few moments longer until it almost stopped moving completely. Then he leaned to the side, lifting himself off of it, and reached down to pick it up by the legs. It gasped, twitched a few times, and then started to flail once again. He smiled, pleased that it still had some fight in it.
With fresh ideas racing through his mind, Ryon lay down on his back and lifted his feet up, resting them on the trunk of the tree. He dabbed his little plaything against the tip of his penis, wetting it with the nice slick fluid, and then brought it around his leg and pressed it up under his tail with two fingers. It immediately began to wriggle and make little barking noises, which rose to a frantic jabbering as he started to rub it briskly against the flesh of his opening. He closed his eyes, purring, lost in the stimulation. He let out a small mew when he felt one of his flailing toy's limbs push down inside the puckered hole and start to twitch, trapped. It gave him pause, and an idea formed for a new experiment. Drawing the little one away for a second, he ran a finger down the backs of its legs and pushed them firmly upward, shuddering as he felt them slide inside of him. They kicked wildly, pleasantly, and he slowly started to feed the rest of the little body into the opening. He felt his anus squeezing around it a few times, but that only made it fight even harder when he let up the pressure. He pushed it farther and farther, until it was almost completely inside -- he didn't want it to go all the way in, or it would just suffocate and die, and then it wouldn't be any fun at all. So he kept its head free, and kept a finger atop it so that it would not slip out again. His other hand closed around his erection and began to stroke at it, purring brokenly as the little one fought and writhed inside of him, massaging him in ways he'd never dreamed could feel so good. His hand stroked faster -- oh, to have the last one here now, to squirm against his cock while its companion thrashed in his butt. He should have caught them both, but since he was not about to stop now and go looking for the other one, this would have to do. And oooh, it was just fine as it was! The tiny gyrations inside his rectum were almost unbearably pleasing. His toes curled, gouging big furrows in the tree bark with their claws. He pumped with gleeful abandon, growling as he felt the heat welling up behind his face. No longer concerned with his prey's safety he pushed up with his finger and stuffed the little one completely inside of his tailhole. Its struggles doubled in intensity, and Ryon gasped, his entire body trembling. Vaguely he felt something wetly crunch deep inside as his loins pulsed, the muscles bearing down and shooting his white cream powerfully onto his chest. Some of it even flew far enough to splash against his muzzle.
This time it seemed to be forever before his body loosened up again and the bursts of white stuff slowed to a trickle. He licked away the cream that had landed on his muzzle. Then, not wasting a second, he rolled to his side and slipped a finger shiveringly into his rear, feeling for the little one. It wasn't moving, and he was worried that it had suffocated. He tried to catch it but only succeeded in pushing it deeper, so he unsheathed a claw and hooked it into the animal's coccoon, using that to drag it out. He was startled at its condition. Every bone in its body must have been broken; it was little more than a sack of flesh, with blood oozing from every orifice.
Ryon really didn't want to eat this one, so he tossed its body aside. He had not realized just how tightly his muscles clenched when the white stuff shot out, but considering how far it had flown this time, maybe it wasn't surprising that his little plaything had been so badly crushed. This was definitely not a game to play when he didn't have others lined up, or when he wanted to eat afterward. With a yawn he curled up on the jungle floor. The prettier one's trail would have grown colder by now and would be harder to follow, and besides, this last one had worn him out. He needed a nap. Just a short one, he thought, and when I'm rested, I'll go up over the hill where I first saw them and see if I can find some more.
Gregory staggered through the tangled undergrowth, driven by fear and haunted by what he had seen. It wasn't possible -- it could not be possible. Nothing that big could possibly live. But he had seen it with his own eyes, had seen it pluck Gary from the ground like a mouse. And from the screams he had heard behind him as he fled, Gregory had no doubt that Gary had been eaten like a mouse, too. The thought made his stomach churn, and for the hundredth time he gagged, stumbling. His Hawaiian shirt was stained with sweat and torn from the innumerable times he had fallen on roots that had reached up to trip him.>/p>
His only hope was to get back to the Land Rover. The thing did not seem to be following him -- he would hear it coming, wouldn't he? -- but still, he wanted to get far away. He would go to the authorities in the city, and tell them what had happened. No, he couldn't. They would never believe him. They'd lock him away. No, he would tell them that his friend had been attacked by a wild animal. Maybe they could send a search party back for Alan, assuming he hadn't already been caught by the monster.
The trees thinned out and then gave way to scrubby bushes as he neared the peak of the mountain. Not until he neared the very top did he dare to stop and catch his breath. How long had he been running? Half an hour? An hour? Mere minutes? No way to tell. It didn't matter, though. He'd left the horrible beast far behind him.
As well as his friends.
The thought stabbed at him but he pushed it away. Alan was not his friend. Why couldn't it have been Alan instead of Gary? A sob broke from his throat, and he slumped against a tree. Gary was dead, he was sure of it. Alan might have gotten away, and if he did, he would probably head for . . .
The Land Rover! If Alan had managed to elude the giant, he would probably head for the vehicle as well, and it would be just like him to drive off and leave Gregory stranded. The realization half-paralyzed him -- to be stuck here with that Thing with no way to get away. He had to get there first. If he wound up driving off without Alan, so be it. The bastard deserved what he got, and he was not about to place his own life in jeopardy to wait for him. He would tell the authorities that both of them had been eaten, and then he'd get his ass out of this miserable country and go back home and try to forget what he had seen.
Tears of elation came to his eyes as he descended the slope on the far side of the mountain and saw the glint of the sun off the Land Rover's windshield. He slowed his pace to a trot as he made his way down to where the trees grew up again. No need to hurry. He was safe, now. The Thing had apparently been content with his two comrades. Maybe it thought he was too skinny and hadn't thought it worthwhile to chase him. The idea made him laugh. It was a loud, barking laugh, giving voice to his relief. He had made it! It made him giddy, even moreso as he reached the top of the rocky slide they'd first scaled and saw the Land Rover sitting invitingly at the bottom. He turned around to blow a kiss to the top of the ridge and say a farewell to his two lost friends, and to the giant that had killed them. "So long, you mother-*"
The words caught in his throat and choked him. Appearing over the crest of the mountain was a massive lion's head, and as it rose up higher, the fur-covered body of a man rose up below it. The head turned side to side, its mane blowing in the wind, and then it turned to orient directly on him. He saw the corners of its lips draw back from its teeth in a horrifying grin, and any shred of sanity that remained fled from him.
With a howl he turned and lurched down the slide. Loose rock rattled beneath his feet, the treacherous footing seeming a minor threat compared to the unholy terror that was now hurtling down the mountainside behind him. He could feel a rhythmic trembling in the earth that sent even more rocks cascading down; he could hear the thunder of its footfalls, and when he ventured to throw a glance over his shoulder he saw the monster striding after him. It waswalking down the mountain, whereas he was scrambling at full speed, and still it closed the distance. He turned back and saw the Land Rover just ahead, tantalizingly near. A shadow fell across him and blotted out the sun. He shrieked wildly and raced forward, heedless of anything but the looming titan that he knew was bearing down on him from behind. The vehicle drew closer and closer, but now he could feel rushes of air displaced by the giant's footfalls. He could not look back now, frightened of seeing one of those mammoth feet descending on him to squash him like a bug. He did not want to see it coming.
His hands struck the fender of the Land Rover and he clawed his way to the door in utter panic. The earth lurched under him as another footstep carried the giant closer, and its shadow surrounded him now. Gregory was screaming as he clambored into the driver's seat and fumbled with the keys.
BOOM!! Through the side window he saw an enormous foot crash down to the ground only a few yards away. Clawed toes spread out as the giant's weight shifted onto them. He jabbed the keys at the ignition, and they skittered off the steering column and fell into his lap. Sobbing, he snatched them up and thrust the key home. He turned it so hard it nearly broke off, and when he looked up he saw the sky blotted out by a vast hand that was dropping toward him, fingers stretched out, filling his field of vision. He screamed, long and loud.
His eye was caught by a brightly-colored speck on the hillside below, and to his utter delight he saw the last little animal, the pretty one, crawling around among the rocks. He forgot everything else and prepared to stalk it, but it had already seen him and was running now. Ryon growled and sprang after it, and then thought, what am I running for? It has nowhere to go. I might as well take my time and catch it when it reaches the grass at the bottom. It probably lives in a burrow -- yes, that must be it. That would explain why the drab one had tried to go underground. He would just follow it and, if he was lucky, he would find a whole nest of them to play with.
Ryon padded after the fleeing little animal at a leisurely pace. It sure didn't move very fast, which was in keeping with everything else he had learned about them. It headed for a little square rock and wriggled under it just as his foot landed nearby. No, not under it. In it. This wasn't a rock -- it was a shell. It had intriguing clear spots on it, and he could see the little one moving around inside. Cool! He reached down to pick it up, wanting to get a better look, when suddenly the shell darted aside and raced away.
Ryon jumped back with a surprised hiss, and for a second he could only watch the shell flee down the slope and into the grass. Then he gave a roar of delight and bounded off after it, determined to catch it and see what made it go. The little one had to be doing it, but could it really be moving its teeny legs so fast underneath there? Whatever it was, Ryon could not contain his curiosity.
The shell raced through the low grass, and Ryon fell in behind it in hot pursuit. At first it was able to maintain its distance, but slowly, slowly Ryon caught up to it. He swiped at it with his hand, missing; he growled and tried again, this time with his claws extended, and felt them scrape across its hard surface. The shell careened off to the right, and Ryon turned sharply, his feet kicking up big clods of dirt that sailed off into the distance. He closed the gap again and leaped, landing on his belly and sliding, both hands pressed down hard on the shell. Panting from excitement and exertion, he sat up and lifted the shell to his face, sniffing it. The little one scrambled around inside and then fell out, plumetting with a thin squeal. It bounced off of his thigh and landed in the grass, where it lay unmoving. He ignored it, more interested for now in the shell. He stuck a curious finger inside, feeling something soft and spongy, and then he realized it was purring.
Mew! It was alive! He almost dropped it in surprise. But . . . no it wasn't alive after all. It was hard and cold, just like a shell Something else had to be alive inside it. He jabbed his finger at it in a few places, stuck a claw up underneath, felt a pattering against his finger, and then the purring stopped. Whatever it was that was alive in there, he had probably just killed it. Distressed, he squeezed the shell in his hand, and found that it flattened easily. He began to tear it apart with his claws, pulling open the part that the little one had been in, sniffing at the soft parts. Soon he had reduced it to jumbled shreds, but still, nothing that would have been purring could be found. He sighed, disappointed, certain now that he'd never know what had made it go so fast.
He dropped the mangled shell resignedly and turned his attention back to the little one, who was slowly crawling away from him on all fours and making soft chittering noises. He stood up and poked at it with his toe, pushing it over onto its side. It did not fight back or struggle, just rolled back to all fours and resumed crawling. Ryon followed its path with his gaze and realized that it was moving toward the far mountain range. He squinted, his sharp eyes zooming in on the mountains and bringing them into focus.
Look at that! All around the foot of the mountains, shells! And little ones! Hundreds of them, maybe thousands! He had found their nest at last. This was going to be so much fun!
He looked down at the lone little animal at his feet and smirked. I'm glad I found you again, he thought, but I don't need you anymore. Now I can play with as many as I want to. But since you were so nice to show me where your nest was, pretty one, I won't let you suffer.
Ryon put his foot on top of the little animal and pressed down, feeling it crunch wetly under his pads. He twisted his foot side to side, grinding the tiny body thoroughly into the dirt, and then he started off across the plain toward the teeming nest, leaving smaller and smaller red stains in every other footprint as he went.
Even while he was still far away, Ryon could see the activity grow more and more frantic in the canyons ahead. His prey obviously could see him coming, and since there was no cover for him, there was no use in trying to stalk. Nor was there any use in rushing; even though he had no cover, the little animals had no cover, either, so he would be able to catch them easily. As he drew close, he grew curious about the mountains, which were strange, square eruptions with no vegetation at all. He remembered that the little ones were plant-eaters, and had probably stripped the hills bare. But then he reached the nest and got to look at one of these hills up close. Why, it wasn't a hill at all! It was a hive! He peered closely at what he thought were thousands of holes in its face before he realized that they were covered with a transparent waxy material which easily broke with just a little bit of pressure. Through them, he could see busy little animals bustling about; in some of the chambers they were crammed in so tightly it looked like they had to crawl over one another just to move around.
He smiled, bending over to look in at the various levels of the hive, and then standing up again. Some of the more heavily-occupied chambers were at just the right height for him to have a little fun. The sounds of fear rising from around his feet made his penis harden, his predator's instincts awakening. It would be a shame to let that go to waste, so he clasped his furry arms around the middle of the hive and started to press his belly against it, grunting as he felt the brittle wax yield.
The workers in the offices of Sabre Associates had no idea what was going on in the street below. With the office as crowded as it was they had to stand two deep against the glass. Nobody was working -- nobody really could work, as the uncertainty of what was happening outside gnawed at every thought. One worker would say to the other, "Why the sirens? Why is everyone running?" and would be met only with a shrug. Someone had volunteered to go downstairs to the lobby and ask what the trouble was, but the supervisor had strictly forbidden it. People could be seen pushing into the front doors as if desperate to get off the street, and the supervisor, fearing for his workers' safety, had ordered that nobody was to leave the office.
"What if there is a fire?" someone said nervously, but the others shook their heads. No fire could be that large, and would not account for everyone trying to get off the streets. What if, instead, an armed gang were roaming about? What if it was another coup d'etat, such as some of them had witnessed ten years earlier? The very thought made them shiver with dread, and they all agreed that they were as safe as possible high up in their offices, away from the trouble.
Even as they reached this conclusion, their view of the street was abruptly blocked out. It seemed as though a heavy curtain had suddenly been drawn across the windows, but from the outside. Everyone started talking at once. "What is this?" "Look, it's made of fur." "Where did it come from?" "It looks like. . ."
And then the windows were filled by the horrifying face of a lion. Some people still thought that it was a parade balloon, but then it drew back its lips to reveal enormous teeth. In one motion everyone turned from the windows and tried to run, and only piled one on top of another in a screaming, squirming mass. The ones furthest from the windows grabbed onto the carpeting to try to haul themselves free, only to be pulled back by their desperate coworkers as they, too, scrambled to free themselves.
The lion-face lifted away and the furry curtain rose up and up, and then with a crash of glass an immense column of flesh burst through the windows. It ploughed heavily over the workers in the middle of the tangle, crushing them beneath its weight and hurling others aside. It battered aside desks and chairs and finally reached the far wall, catching the supervisor ahead of it and splattering his body across the bulletin board. It then began to withdraw, leaving a long smear of redness and trailing a thin line of clear fluid on the floor. Its flared end dragged a few screaming bodies with it; they were pulled helplessly out through the shattered windows and fell out of sight. Then, before anyone could recover, the murderous shaft thrust its way once more into the office, herding the survivors away from the door and concentating them in a small corner. It withdrew once more, still oozing its trail onto the carpet, and then rocketed forward into their very midst. The wall behind them collapsed with the impact, which allowed a few to scramble to safety through the wreckage, but others were caught beneath it and ground to bits as it dragged across them. Again and again it pummelled the office, shaking the floor now with such force that those remaining were unable to keep their footing and had to crawl. Light fixtures swayed and then collapsed, followed by the tiles of the ceiling and then chunks of concrete. As the dust rose, workers felt their way blindly through the shuddering rooms. One woman headed for daylight, and found herself back in the devastated office. The massive flesh-column raced toward her, but before it struck her a torrent of heavy fluid burst from its end and sent her sailing limply through the air. Through the haze her officemates saw her ride the white tide until she crashed through the windows on the north side and disappeared. Another wave washed through the offices, and then another and another, the shaft spraying like a burst water main. The floor became slippery and people fell, half-swimming through the stuff, and then the building lurched once more, and the walls crumbled around them.
Ryon mewed with delight as he emptied his load into the hive. He looked down and saw his white stuff dribbling out of the hole he'd made, and he giggled as a little one was washed out with it and fell to the ground. He hugged the hive a little more tightly, wiggling his hips against it as his erection shifted around inside, and then to his surprise the whole hive fell apart and collapsed into a dusty heap at his feet, leaving a big chunk of it still impaled on his shaft. Shrugging, he pulled it off, checked it for morsels, and finding none he tossed it aside. Then he turned and peered at the long expanse ahead of him, packed tightly with countless little ones and their racing shells, although the shells couldn't move at all because of the unshelled ones milling around them. They had nowhere to go, and they were all his.
This was definitely more fun than one little lion should be allowed to have!
Ryon rumbled happily and started to walk forward, his feet coming down in the midst of the teeming mass. It felt good beneath his feet, the little bodies pressing up against them and wiggling, and then finally popping and turning into soft mush. He wiggled his toes as the warm pulp bubbled up between them, and he purred quietly. He lifted his other foot and swung it forward, then started to bring it down very slowly. Pieces of wet flesh fell from it and rained down on the little ones, which made them panic even more. He watched as they tried to press out from under his foot, until the crowd there was very thin. So he moved his foot a little, holding it over a spot where they were densely packed, and saw them thin out again, pushing to the sides. It became a game, as he moved his foot gleefully over their heads and watched them try to get out of its path. Sometimes, if they weren't fast enough, he'd lower it down so that it almost touched their heads. They would reach up and tickle his pads with their tiny limbs when he did that, which delighted him. But soon he tired of this game, and started to pad forward again. His feet made wet noises with every step. Squelch, squelch, squelch, squelch. He figured that he probably shouldn't be crushing them like this, since it was a sin to waste food, but it was just so amusing to hear and feel them squishing beneath his toes that he couldn't help himself.
A little further down he felt the stirring deep in his loins again. It sure didn't take long for the white stuff to start building up inside! He sat down where he was, in the heart of the boiling mass, and felt the little bodies crunch under his rump, and then under his thighs as he straightened his legs out. Ohhh, and that luscious quivering under his tail reminded him of what he'd wanted to try earlier. Why stop at just two, though, when he had millions at his disposal now? His hand swept through the dense swarm between his legs and gathered up as many as it could hold. Leaning far to the side, he started to push them, one at a time, into his tight hole. The first few took an effort, but after that, it seemed to grow easier. Lay them against the opening, push up with the fingertip, feel them slide in and wiggle. He stuffed a whole lot into himself until he felt pleasantly full, and then piled the rest under his ass and sat on them. It was a wonder the white stuff didn't shoot out right then, so intense was the feel of their kicking, especially against one spot deep inside that they kept beating at and which made him almost dizzy. But the white stuff didn't come out yet. No, it wanted help. And he grinned, because right between his legs he had all the help he needed!
He brought his legs together, packing the throng even tighter, and leaned as far forward as he could. That made his tailhole press down even harder on the quivering mass beneath it, and he felt them start to compress. Just as long as they don't die before I get my fun, he thought. Stretching his arms out, he brought his hands down and started to scoop the little ones toward his crotch. They flailed, piling up atop one another and rolling over and over, the pile growing until it landed fully in his lap, burying his malehood to mid-shaft. The pile started to disperse quickly as individual little bodies broke away and clambored over his legs to safety. That was all right -- he'd catch them later.
Ryon groaned as he pressed in on the mass of little ones, grinding their
writhing forms against his balls and all around them. They squeezed up
tightly against his penis, and he began to smear them slowly up and down.
The effect was incredible! The bodies closest to his flesh would wriggle
against it until the pressure became too great and they would squash; but
right behind them would be an endless host of more bodies which would wiggle
slickly in the wet remains of their fellows, until they, too, would add
to the lubrication and be replaced by others. He started to gasp, squeezing
harder, clamping his thighs together to hold his playthings against his scrotum.
It was almost too much, the countless stroking limbs, the quivering massage,
his hands pressing inward harder and harder, until he felt the familiar spasms
and roared. White stuff leaped up high in a glorious arc and came crashing
down again on the heads of his playthings in spurt after mammoth spurt, swirling with
red as it started to flow down his hands. Inside he felt the floundering
bodies compress with his spasms, crunching into a single wet mass, pieces of
which spurted from his anus as it tightened.
He quickly caught up to the swarm as it fled through the hive-canyons. They had run to an open area, crisscrossed with lots of cracks and lines in the ground -- roots of some sort? -- and were scurrying over and around a big rock arch that rose up over the gap. He decided that it must be a dry stream bed. What was fascinating, though, was another arch that rose up high over the first one. Kitten still at heart, Ryon could not resist this bit of fun! His little ones could wait for a moment. Crouching, he leaped up high and caught the uppermost portion of the arch in his hands. It held his weight, and with a gleeful roar he started to swing back and forth, his toes brushing through the throng of little animals on the lower arch and flinging them away. This was fun! He swung faster, feeling the wind whistle through his fur, almost like he was flying.
Then, suddenly, the upper arch gave way. Ryon fell hard on his butt, crashing through the lower arch and landing in the stream bed, with dust and tiny bodies falling down all around him. The breath was knocked from him, leaving him gasping. With baleful eyes he cast around, and when he was certain that nobody had seen him fall so ungracefully, he crossed the stream bed to where his little pets were waiting.
The first thing that caught his eye on the other side was a huge shell, much larger than the others, and it was teeming with animals. Funny little things! They all wanted to be inside this shell, since it was so big. He reached down and picked it up with two hands, one on each end, and peered closely through the clear parts. Dozens of teeny flat faces looked back at him, and then they started to climb over one another to get away -- as if they had anywhere to go! He brought it to his lips and thrust his tongue through a clear part, and felt the mass of flesh squirming against it. That gave him an idea.
Turning the shell on its end, Ryon poked at the top; as he expected, it was pliable, and he was easily able to push it in. His penis was hardening slowly in anticipation of what he had in mind, and he lowered his face to the open end and ROARED at them to make them scream. It also made their squirming more frantic, which served his purposes just fine. He crouched down and spread his thighs wide; holding the shell in one hand, he gripped his shaft with the other and used it to guide the meaty organ into the open end. He purred as the dripping tip touched the animals within, and started to push itself deeper. Slowly, slowly -- let's enjoy this! His wide member compressed the little ones like a piston, their desperate flailing against his tip only exciting Ryon further. Some of them managed to squirm around the rim of his glans, only to be trapped between the bulk of his shaft and the inside of the shell, where they were smeared into jelly. He moaned, and pulled out a little, and then thrust the shell down onto his cock. He felt his tip smash up against the packed bodies, making them grow a little softer. Withdrawing again, he paused a moment, and then thrust forward once more. Again the bodies grew softer, and there was a bit less squirming now. Passion started to overtake him, and he lay forward, pinning the shell down beneath his belly, and started to thrust his hips powerfully, pounding his huge length again and again and again into the pulping mass. Screams continued to rise from inside the shell for a while, but then there was nothing but the squishy sound of wet meat. Ryon snarled, his fingers digging deep furrows in the ground as his thrusting grew wilder and his belly started to collapse the top of the shell with its heaving, and then with a gasp he rammed his penis forward and wildly spewed his white stuff. The far end of the shell exploded outward with the pressure and mangled bodies washed out in a river of red-swirled cream. Ryon's arms shook, and he mewed weakly, letting his body settle down and flattening the shell around his penis.
He took a few minutes to rest this time, though his ears kept swivelling toward the sound of the swarm as it headed away from him. He didn't want it to get too far away. When it sounded like they might be getting too distant, he rolled over and got to his feet. The remains of the shell, still dripping with red and white goo, was packed around his cock. He giggled as he paused to peel it away. Then he turned, sniffing and angling his head toward the sounds of the retreating herd. Playtime is done, he thought. Now it is time to eat.
Ryon pounded through the nearest canyons but didn't see a single little one. Ah, silly! They'd gone into their hives to hide, of course. He looked for a nice big one and peered inside through the clear parts. Yep. . .there they were. He drew back a fist and smashed it through the flimsy rock, groping, feeling walls disintigrate against his fingers. His foot swept forward, kicking apart the bottom of the hive so he could push it over. Tiny bodies rained down with the rubble and bounced off of his fur. For a minute it looked like this was a hopeless endeavor because all he was going to get out of it would be pulverized meat, but then he saw that with the destruction he was causing to this hive, the little animals were abandoning their fellows and were once again surging into the canyons. Ryon smiled, lashed out with his fists to shatter a few more of the hives, just in case some of the little ones did not get the idea. The canyons filled rapidly, looking now just like they had when he had first arrived. It was going to be a feast for him, and he. . .OUCH! What the. . .? Hey!
Ryon gave an angry snarl and turned! Who threw that? Who was horning in on his nest of prey? He'd seen it first!
But there was nobody there. Then something hit him again in the chest and burst into a little ball of light. When it went away, the fur was parted in a circle and left all sooty. Ryon scowled. Someone was throwing dirt- balls at him, and he wanted to know who! He stomped down the canyon, kicking aside the shells, and then suddenly came to a stop. Mew! What is that? At his feet, all neatly lined up, were big, heavy-looking shells, with lines of little ones behind them. He was taken completely off guard, and forgetting for a moment the mischievous dirt-thrower, he reached down to pick up one of the big shells so he could get a closer look.
Something smacked his palm and he jerked his hand back, peering at it curiously. There again was a little sooty rosette, right in the middle of his palm, and there was no doubt that it had come from the shell. So, the little ones did have some fight in them! But throwing dirt? Any intelligent animal would have at least bitten him.
Puffs of smoke billowed up from the shells, and with bright flashes, circles of soot started to blossom all over his fur. There were also thousands of tiny impacts, like raindrops, all over his body, and when he brushed at his fur he found gritty sand in it.
Ryon roared in annoyance. Stop getting me dirty! I have to lick this off! In a rage, he stomped forward and raised his mighty foot high, and brought it down heavily on one of the shells. It was definitely more solid than the others, but nonetheless, it crumpled and burst outward, spraying pieces of itself in all directions. He lifted his other foot and stamped down hard on the next nearest shell, smashing it likewise. That will teach them to throw dirt at me, he thought, but apparently it didn't, because they just kept on throwing. His fur was almost saturated with gritty specks now, and he yowled in irritation. He started stamping his feet wildly, aiming for the shells, pounding them flat. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, each hard footfall reducing the annoying barrage of soot. As the number of shells dwindled the little animals started to scurry about in disorder. Ryon's hand swept through their midst and scooped up a whole bunch which he tore apart between his fingers. He began to stamp on them, too, trampling them into paste, sweeping up handful after handful and squeezing them hard until they popped.
Finally, the rain of soot and sand came to an end. Ryon panted down at all the flattened shells and splattered corpses. Get HIM dirty, would they? With a scornful sneer he turned back toward the main swarm, ready now to feed in peace.
All the stomping with the hard-shells had left him a little worn out and had definitely helped to build his appetite. He didn't bother to bend down to pick any little morsels up; instead, he strode into their midst and dropped down to his hands and knees. His jaws parted as he dipped his head, and he licked his tongue through the mass, gathering up a few and drawing them into his mouth. He chewed noisily, his purr returning as their flesh liquified and flowed over his taste buds. Swallowing that mouthful, he lowered his head again; jaws gaping, he pressed his lips down in a densely-packed area of the herd. When he closed his mouth, his teeth scooped up a dozen or more. He lifted his head and swallowed hard, gulping them all down whole. Ahhhh, that was nice! He did so enjoy the struggling of live prey in his gullet, and he'd never had so much of it at one time. He let his gaze play over the crowd, and then lowered his head once more, grazing on them, nipping up just a few at a time to chew up so he could enjoy the flavor. But his hunger was getting the upper hand, and now that his appetite was whetted he started to eat more voraciously, his hands sweeping broadly through the herd and scooping them into his mouth, cramming them in to be swallowed alive. It reached nearly a fever pitch, so intoxicating was the feeling of having such an inexhaustible supply of prey. He cleared out all of the little ones within arm's reach and then crawled forward, snatching up handful after handful and devouring them.
Eventually his belly began to feel full, and once again he allowed himself the luxury of playing with his food. He crawled forward so as to once again be in the thick of the herd, and then rose up to his knees, which skidded a little as meaty bodies pulped beneath them. Gathering up a big handful of struggling animals, he clasped them to his penis, which had not grown soft throughout his entire playtime and was starting to show its own hunger anew. The big organ was already slick with fluid and with the mushy bodies of countless other little ones, so these slid very nicely against it. He stroked slowly with them, dragging them against his shaft and gazing down at the vast swarm below him. He let their terrified squealing add to the predatory pleasure of the twitchings inside his stomach. His purr grew louder, and he thought for a minute of grabbing another handful to push up his ass, but then he decided against it. The white stuff was already starting to well up within him. He paused only long enough to shuffled forward, since the herd kept shrinking away and he wanted to stay in the thick of them, and then he growled and began to tighten his grip on the squirming creatures, crushing them to warm, slippery pulp around his shaft. He grinned cruelly down at the swarm and then tensed, hissing as his creamy white stuff shot out yet again and curled through the air in long strings. He watched with shuddery amusement as it descended and splashed down onto his playthings, its heavy thickness bearing them down to the ground and burying them.
When the pulsing had ceased, Ryon leaned down and giggled at the number of tiny creatures who were mired helplessly in his cream. He backed up and brought his face down close to them, peering at them with laughing eyes as they flailed and rolled in the soupy mass. Then he pursed his lips in the white stuff and sucked, slurping it noisily into his mouth. Its thickness dragged a bunch of the trapped little animals with it, and they, too, were pulled in. He laughed and sat up, rolling them around inside his mouth, letting the cream wash them over his teeth, and then finally down his throat as he swallowed them. That was fun, so he leaned over and sucked up some more, until nearly all of it was gone. It really made an interesting sauce for them.
By now he was getting so full he was feeling lazy. He no longer crawled after the retreating swarm, and only toyed with the stragglers. He pulled one close and batted it idly around with his hand until it started to bleed, then just to be mean he pressed his thumb down on it so he could watch its little limbs shudder and jerk. Picking up another by the foot he tore off its coccoon -- none of them were as pretty as the one he'd chased out of the valley -- and slowly ran a leathery fingerpad over its smooth skin. He laid it down and rolled it onto its back, running his finger over the contours of its tiny body. Mildly surprising was the discovery that it had what appeared to be a penis, and that it was growing hard, like his, as he rubbed his fingertip against it. That made him smile, and he wondered if they had white stuff in them, too. He dipped his finger in a little red splotch on the pavement and started to rub it in a small, wet circle over the tiny groin. The little one stayed hard, even though it was squealing and yapping in fear, and after a little bit its body quivered. He lifted his finger -- yep! Just as he thought. He licked the finger clean, and then he pinched the little animal's head between two fingers, intending to crush it.
No. He'd keep this one, he decided. He could probably learn even more about it once he got it home. Besides, it was getting late. He did want to be home before sundown, and that wasn't far off. Scanning the canyon below he found a shell that was long and tubular, without any openings. He made one, and slipped his little animal inside. As he made his way back through the maze of hives he caught soem more and slipped them, too, into the shell. By the time he reached the edge of the colony, he had perhaps thirty of them, and already ideas were forming of new ways to amuse himself with them once he got them home.
Ryon's belly was still twitching nicely as he padded across the wide flatland toward his valley, with the sun sinking slowly behind him. He reflected on all the wonderful things he had discovered that day -- truly, he had to be the happiest lion in the whole world! He had plenty of food, and would grow big and strong like his father. And he had found the best playthings ever! And even though he had pretty well decimated one hive, there were bound to be others. He'd go out and try to find them tomorrow. There was, after all, a whole big, fascinating world out here for him to explore.
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